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Best and worst travel insurance

We rate cover for travel following the Covid-19 pandemic, with detail on medical expenses, cancellation and airline failure.

In this article
How do you find the best travel insurance? What are the best travel insurance policies? Which policies offer the best coronavirus (Covid-19) cover? What our Covid ratings show and don't show What Covid cover is available?
Will travel insurance cover changes to the government's traffic light system? How else can you protect your holiday? How we find the best travel insurance policies Get top money-saving tips from Which?

    How do you find the best travel insurance?

    It's never been more important to get the right travel insurance in place with your holiday booking - but policies are probably less straightforward now than they've ever been.

    To help, we've analysed hundreds of policies, scrutinising over 52 areas of cover in each one.  

    As well as using our research to find the right insurer for you, doing the following will help you get cover worth owning: 

     

    Search widely

     

    Casting a wide net is always advisable when searching for insurance. Using multiple comparison sites to do so is a great start - however, some of us will need to look further afield to find affordable cover.

    We've provided tips on how customers with medical conditions can locate difficult-to-find policies, as well as reviews of specialist providers that don't always lie on the beaten path.

     

    Arrange your cover quickly

     

    When you buy a policy, you're not just paying to protect your period of travel - you're also covering unexpected situations that prevent you from setting off. Make sure you have cover in place from the point you've booked your trip. 

     

    Check the t&cs

     

    Few of us enjoy reading insurance policy wording, but being acquainted with it is the only real way of understanding what your policy offers and what it doesn't.

    If there are specific reasons you've bought the cover, check these sections to make sure they align with your expectations. Also check the policy's general exclusions and conditions. If anything in the policy is unclear, contact the insurer.

     

    Check what protection your holiday provider offers

     

    Travel insurance is designed to be the last port of call - insurers will expect you to have tried recouping what you can through other channels first. It's therefore a good idea to familiarise yourself with the terms of your holiday booking.

    To help, we’ve compared holiday providers’ Covid travel policies so you can check before you book. See our Holiday checker tool to find out more. 

     

    What are the best travel insurance policies?

    We've compared over 250 travel insurance policies to bring you our best and worst travel insurance tables.

    Members can log in to see which insurers and policies genuinely stand out. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

     

     

    How we analyse travel insurance

     

    We analyse and rate 52 key elements of travel insurance policies to come up with the overall policy score. We assess how important each individual element is to travellers when choosing and using a travel insurance policy, and weight it accordingly when calculating our total policy score.

    Initially, we score all of the product elements out of five, reflecting how competitive each provider is in this area compared with other insurers. Weightings are then applied to the higher and lower element scores to enhance/reduce their impact on the overall policy score.

     

    Policy Name Policy Score

    Covid cover rating

     

    (What's this?)

    How well a policy covers you for typical coronavirus-related disruption. Ratings run from basic (worst) to low, superior and complete (best).

    Medical expenses Airline failure Missed departure Cancellation limit
    Logged out detail 89% Complete £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £5,000
    Logged out detail 84% Complete £10,000,000 As standard £5,000 £5,000
    Logged out detail 83% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,500 Up to £7,500
    Logged out detail 83% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,500 £7,500
    Logged out detail 82% Superior £15,000,000 As standard £500 £7,500
    Logged out detail 81% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,500 £5,000
    Logged out detail 80% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,500 £5,000
    Logged out detail 80% Superior Unlimited As standard £1,500 £7,500
    Logged out detail 79% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,500 £5,000
    Logged out detail 79% Superior £15,000,000 As standard £500 £7,500
    Logged out detail 78% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £7,500
    Logged out detail 78% Superior £15,000,000 As standard £1,000 £5,000
    Logged out detail 78% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £5,000
    Logged out detail 77% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £10,000
    Logged out detail 77% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £5,000
    Logged out detail 76% Superior £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £7,500
    Logged out detail 76% Low Unlimited As standard £1,250 £7,500
    Logged out detail 76% Low £10,000,000 As standard £1,500 £6,000
    Logged out detail 75% Low Unlimited As standard £1,250 £7,500
    Logged out detail 75% Low £10,000,000 As standard £1,000 £10,000

     

    Table last updated in June 2021. Next update in June 2022.

    In July 2021, Travel Insurance Facilities - an insurance company which underwrites the cover for many travel insurance brands - temporarily paused sales of policies to new customers (existing customers continue to be covered). We've indicated in our tables which policies are currently unavailable as a result. We will update the information as we become aware of changes. 

    Which policies offer the best coronavirus (Covid-19) cover?

    If Covid-19 interferes with your holiday plans or travel, almost all policies offer some protection - but the extent varies wildly, and it can be far from clear what different providers mean by 'Covid cover'.

    To help, we've rated the levels of Covid protection offered by over 80 insurers, and have awarded Which? Covid-cover ratings to each. The policies detailed have received one of four ratings: Basic, Low, Superior and Complete.

    The best and worst policies for Covid cover

    Brand Policy names

    Covid-19 rating

     

    (What's this?)

    How well a policy covers you for typical coronavirus-related disruption. Ratings run from basic (worst) to low, superior and complete (best).

    Barclays Bank Travel Pack Complete
    HSBC Select and Cover Complete

    These details are correct as of May 2021. We recommend checking directly with the insurer before buying a policy. All ratings are for policies available to new customers at the time the data was collected.

    In July 2021, Travel Insurance Facilities - an insurance company which underwrites the cover for many travel insurance brands - temporarily paused sales of policies to new customers (existing customers continue to be covered). We've indicated in our tables which policies are currently unavailable as a result. We will update the information as we become aware of changes. 

    What our Covid ratings show and don't show

    Our ratings are intended to give a general idea of how extensive each policy's Covid cover is, and key areas in which policies differ.

    To derive them, we've examined which policies provide cover under five specific scenarios - a customer requiring emergency medical treatment while travelling, needing to cancel because of a positive test, having to cancel due to being instructed to self-isolate without a positive test (for example, being contacted by NHS Test and Trace), and cancelling because of changes in FCDO advice or a lockdown where they live.

    The ratings don't cover other potential ways the pandemic could interfere with travel. There can likewise be differences, with some areas of cover, between policies that have the same Covid rating. This means it's crucial to check the terms of any policy before buying it to make sure it's appropriate to you - as there will always be some restrictions.

    What Covid cover is available?

    Practically all policies provide cover for a coronavirus-related medical emergency (Basic cover) - but around one in seven won't cover cancellation if it's connected to the pandemic.

     

    Most also provide some element of cancellation cover if you can't go on your trip because you've been diagnosed with Covid-19 (Low cover).


    Much rarer are policies providing cancellation cover if you can't go on your trip because you've been told to self-isolate without having tested positive - for example if you've been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (Superior cover). 

     

    Just two firms in our survey (and under 1% of all policies examined) confirmed they offer Complete cover, which means you can claim if you can't go on your holiday due to a change in advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO - formerly the FCO) or because of a regional or national lockdown.

     

    In both cases, these must be new advice or restrictions - i.e. not in place when the insurance was purchased or the holiday booked (whichever is later).

    Will travel insurance cover changes to the government's traffic light system?

    Whether your destination is on the green, amber or red list will have an effect on measures you'll need to take and costs you may have to pay when travelling internationally or on your return to the UK. Countries can change lists with little or no warning.

    At present, even the most comprehensive travel insurance policies are unlikely to be able to cover you against all potential costs - or your decision to cancel a trip if your destination is moved between lists. However, as the situation is complex and evolving, you should check directly with the insurer.  

    How else can you protect your holiday?

    When it comes to Covid-19, for now, most insurance won't do the full job of protecting your travel plans.

    This means you should consider supplementing it with other protections. It's also important to note that travel insurers expect you to claim with them only if you can't recover your money through other channels.  

    Pick a company with flexible booking options

    Thinking about booking a holiday? We’ve compared holiday providers’ Covid travel policies so you can check before you book. The Which? Holiday Checker makes it easy for you to find out which providers offer the best flexible booking options, and which ones could leave you out of pocket if circumstances change.  

    Package holiday companies

    If a package holiday firm cancels your holiday, or airlines can't fulfil flights, you're entitled to a refund by law.

    Unfortunately, in the wake of Covid-19, not all travel providers fulfilled their legal obligations. For peace of mind, choose a firm that is one of our Which? Recommended Providers

    ATOL protection

    If you buy a package holiday that includes flights from an ATOL protected firm, you'll get your money back if it goes bust. You'll also be repatriated if this happens while you're on holiday.

    Your credit card provider

    If you can, pay for your holiday with a credit card.

    If you pay with a credit card for services costing more than £100 and less than £30,000 that aren't provided as advertised, you can claim the money back from your card supplier if the seller (ie the holiday company) won't refund you.

    Your bank

    Banks have similar schemes to help you recover money for services that haven't been fulfilled as paid for. These are known as 'chargeback'.

    Chargeback can be used to recover debit and prepaid card payments, as well as credit card payments below £100.

    Banks aren't legally bound to do this in the same way credit card providers are under Section 75, so you should always pay for amounts over £100 with a credit card if possible.

    How we find the best travel insurance policies

    In April and May 2021 we surveyed 86 insurance companies about 52 different areas of cover from each of their policies. We analysed the data and awarded each policy a Policy Score.

    A high score indicates that overall, the policy has comparatively high levels of cover. However, when using our tables, you should bear in mind the following:

    • Travel insurance is complex - which means that even if a policy has a high score, it may not include certain elements of cover that you're looking for. You can see at a glance in our tables how policies compare for Covid cover and a selection of other key features - but for detailed breakdowns of how providers have earned their policy scores, see our full travel insurance reviews.    
    • The Policy Score doesn't examine the insurers' customer service or how much their policies cost.
    • The data was collected in April and May 2021 and we'll continue to update it as we become aware of changes. However, we recommend confirming directly with the providers before buying.

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